Reformed Reflections

Islamisation of Europe (3)

Why should we refer to Cheap Monday jeans in an article on the Islamisation of Europe? These jeans are a hot commodity among young Swedes, even if a few buyers are turned off by the logo: a skull with an upside-down cross on its forehead. The inverted cross is often associated with satanic worship. The logo's designer, Bjorn Atldax, commented, "It is an active statement against Christianity. I'm not a Satanist myself, but I have a great dislike for organized religion." Atldax insists he has a purpose beyond selling denim. He wants to make young people question Christianity, which he called, a "force of evil" that had sparked wars throughout history.

The Cheap Monday jeans' logo reflects Europe's largely Christophobic culture. This negative view towards Christianity is also expressed in the continuing resentment of the dominant role once played by Christian Democratic parties in postwar Europe. Lena Hjelm-Wallen, a former deputy minister of Sweden and a member of the European constitutional convention, thought it as "a joke" when she heard that Sweden's Christian Democrats wanted the Christian sources of European civilization to be recognized in the preamble of European Union's constitution. She clearly reflects the bigotry of Europe's political left, which sees Christianity in terms of xenophobia, racism, intolerance, narrowness, and nationalism.

In Europe, many said farewell to Christianity, but not to a foundational basis for living and thinking. They claim a release from the grip of "religion." The Christian religion no longer plays a leading role in society. But religion is different from what the Bible calls faith. In the Bible, faith is a personal relationship between God and man through Jesus Christ. Secularism is welcomed as the only workable world and life view for our modern times. They have become secular fundamentalists who are earth bound. Secularization has also infiltrated the church. In the 20th century, theologians began to speak about "secularized Christendom", "secularized theology", and "the absence of God." No wonder the worshippers in the pews became confused. The authority of Scripture was set aside. Family life became stripped of its private worship. But a secular society without a Christian component and the guidance of Scripture leaves a spiritual void. In this spiritual wasteland, Islamisation found fertile soil for rapid growth.

Demographic Suicide

The de-Christianization of Europe has troublesome consequences for the future. Perhaps one of the most urgent issues confronting Western Europe today is the fact that it is committing a form of demographic suicide. British historian Niall Ferguson calls the birthrate below the replacement level the greatest "sustained reduction in European population since the Black death of the 14th century?" Most European countries have already passed a demographic tipping point that virtually assures not only a rapid population aging, but also absolute population decline. Statisticians claim that Europe's retired population will increase by 55 percent in the next twenty-five years, while its working population will shrink by 8 percent. A combination of an extremely high number of abortions, the desire of economic security, a better standard of living and the good life often hinders the formation of large families. For example, in 2005 Germany suffered the steepest declines of births in 15 years, a drop of 4 percent or 30,000 births, from 2004. 100,000 more Germans die than are born every year. Pessimists estimate that the current population of 82 million could fall to 50 million by 2050.

A fertility rate 2.1 births is the minimal replacement level in developed countries. It is estimated that the European Union population will fall by 96 million by 2050, even if it gains 600,000 immigrants a year. The far below replacement-level birthrates are already creating enormous pressures on the European welfare states and a demographic vacuum into which Islamic immigrants are flowing in increasing numbers. But these Muslim immigrants don't take kindly to a society "liberated" from religious restraints. Their encounter with contemporary, secularized Europe, may eventually produce a Europe increasingly influenced or perhaps even dominated by militant Islamic populations, convinced that their long-delayed triumph in Europe's heartland is at hand.

The Resurgence of Islam

Between 1989 and 1999, the Muslim population grew by more than 100 percent in Europe, to fourteen million (2 percent of the population). There are 1,500 mosques in Germany, and five million Muslims in France. The number of Muslims in the rest of the European countries is between twelve and fifteen million. These Muslim immigrants have not escaped the resurgence of Islam, which is a worldwide phenomenon. In The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Samuel P. Huntington refers to the resurgence of Islam as an extremely important historical event affecting one-fifth or more of humanity; it is at least as significant as the American Revolution, French Revolution, or Russian revolution. He calls it an effort to find a "solution" not in Western ideologies but in Islam. This resurgence of Islam embodies the rejection of Western culture, and the rededication to Islam as the guide to life in the modern world. It is absolutely convinced that "Islam is the solution" to the problems of morality, identity, meaning and faith. It involves efforts to reinstitute Islamic law in place of Western law, the increased use of religious language and symbolism, expansion of Islamic education (manifested in the multiplication of Islamic schools and Islamisation of the curricula in regular state schools). For example, in Belgium Muslim teachers may give instruction in Islam in religious classes in public schools as since 1975 Islam has become one of Belgium's, recognized religions. Resurgent Islam also seeks to dominate politcally the opposition to secular governments and expand efforts to develop international solidarity among Islamic states and societies. Islamic involvement in the political process is much more advanced in Europe than in Canada and the United States. In England there is now a shadow government that has been created by the Muslims to act on their own issues but also to be prepared if the opportunity ever comes to take over the government.

The Islamic resurgence has given Muslims renewed confidence in the distinctive character and worth of their civilization, and values compared to those of the West. Huntington observes: "The underlying problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power." Despite the anti-Western attitude, European politicians continue to see Islam in a positive light. For example, in 1991 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe spoke of "the valuable contribution that Islamic values can make on the quality of life through a renewed European approach on an overall basis to the cultural, economic, scientific and social fields." It also stated that "greater attention should be given to co-operation with the Islamic world." And "there should be wider provision for the teaching of Arabic as a modern language in European schools." On the contribution of the Islamic civilization to European culture, it noted that the new Europe is becoming increasingly subject to influences from Islam, not only through the regions of predominantly Islamic culture but also "by immigration from the wider Islamic world."

Financing Resurgent Islam

Financing the resurgence is no problem. Each time we fill up our car with gas, we add to the bountiful treasury of the Islam oil producers. The Saudi, Libyan, and other governments used their oil riches to stimulate and finance the Muslim revival. For example, during the 1970s and 1980s, the Islamic state Saudi Arabia was the most influential force in Islam. It spent billions of dollars supporting Muslim causes throughout the world, from mosques and textbooks to political parties and Islamic organisations. It was deeply involved in asserting the place and importance of Islam in non-Islamic societies. It is still heavily contributing today.

An Unsurmountable Barrier

How tolerant is Resurgent Islam? In Europe, lawsuits have been launched against those who tell the truth about Islam. The same secular dogmatists who insist on their right to mock both Judaism and Christianity are often the first to charge "Islamophobia" and "racism" when Islam is presented accurately and criticized. How much affinity do Christians have with Islam? The crucial barrier between the religions is the doctrine of God. For Muslims the doctrine of the Trinity is the worst corruption of the true faith. It is the principal Christian doctrine denounced by the Koran: "Praise be to God, who begets no son, and has no partner" and "He is God, one, eternal. He does not beget, He is not begotten, and He has no peer." (Koran CXII) When the Dutch Professor Dr. Kees Klop was invited some ten years ago to contribute to a course for Moroccan Imams, he discovered that they believed their faith superior to the Christian faith. They argued that the doctrine of the Trinity meant that Christianity was on a lower level on the ladder of religious development than the strict monotheism of Islam. Consequently, these Imams looked down upon our society as inferior.

(To be continued)

Johan D. Tangelder
April 2006